As a highly debated topic (especially in the last few years), mental health has been closely linked to a healthy work/life balance. And, with so many workers going remote since the pandemic, the way in which we intertwine work and our personal lives has risen in importance and become more intentional than ever before.

In this regard, coworking spaces have been referred to as emerging pillars for a healthy work/life balance and mental health as they provide the ideal environment for focused work, but also for engaging social interaction. Additionally, coworking also relieves financial strains, reduces lengthy commutes and enables higher degrees of flexibility in terms of how, when and where we work.

That said, we wanted to find out what the experts had to say about the ways in which coworking can support mental health, professional success and personal fulfillment. Below, Jessica Nicklin, Professor of Psychology at The University of Hartford; Sharon Glazer, Professor of Cross-Cultural Organizational Psychology and Chair of the Division of Applied Behavioral Sciences at The University of Baltimore; and Daisy Chang, Professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University College of Social Science, share their takes on the importance and influence of coworking spaces on workers’ mental wellbeing.

In your opinion, what is the primary mental health benefit of working from a coworking space instead of working from home? Why do you think that is?

Jessica Nicklin, The University of Hartford:

“I think it’s that much-needed connection to other people, the social aspect of work. I would also add variety and control as coworking lets you choose where to work.”

Sharon Glazer, The University of Baltimore:

“As social beings, we need human interaction. Although a lot can get done remotely, isolation can take a huge toll on people’s mental and physical health. There is a strong indication that staying connected with people is essential for healthy living. Some people will find that staying connected in the workplace would be better for their well-being, whereas others will find that staying connected with an affinity group works best for them.

In a book that I wrote over 10 years ago, I mentioned that, when working virtually, it is important to connect with people in person from time to time (every three, four, six or 12 months) to create a warmer connection. The video screen or audio communication is not enough to create meaningful connections with people. Developing trust with others is difficult through computer-mediated communication and trust is best built through an in-person, interpersonal connection.”

Daisy Chang, Michigan State University College of Social Science:

“I think working from a coworking space can help facilitate mental health through the satisfaction of basic needs. For example, one of them is the need for relatedness, which refers to individuals wanting to develop and maintain meaningful relationships with colleagues, friends, family, etc. Information and communication technologies — such as cell phones and laptops — certainly have allowed us to satisfy the need for relatedness from a distance, such as for remote workers. However, working in a coworking space gives people more opportunities to meet others and have conversations that are less intentional and by design (e.g., a formal meeting), which can lead to the development of unexpected relationships and collaborations.

In addition to relatedness, working in a coworking space may also help individuals satisfy their competence need, which is another basic need where people want to feel mastery and a sense of accomplishment, while also being recognized for their achievements. Again, the mere presence of others in the coworking space — even when they are not necessarily one’s own coworkers — can create social facilitation, promote individuals to contribute more to their own tasks and achieve that sense of accomplishment. The inspiration of talking to others from different fields and backgrounds can also promote creativity, which also helps build a sense of achievement.

So, from this perspective, the coworking space offers a physical environment that can help foster opportunities to satisfy workers’ basic needs, which can then contribute positively to their mental health.”

How much does a sense of community influence one’s workflow and overall professional success?

Jessica Nicklin, The University of Hartford:

“It depends on the person. While there’s a need for connection in all of us, for some people, this is an integral aspect of who they are. And, while others don’t rely so much on a sense of community, it’s the ability to choose what works best for one that makes coworking important. Being able to work from home or work from a shared space (depending on which model fits best) is the recipe for professional and, why not, even personal success.”

Sharon Glazer, The University of Baltimore:

“A sense of community helps to ensure that people are not only performing well on their own required job tasks, but are also contributing to the greater good or needs of their organization. When there is no in-person connection with members of the organization, it becomes all the more elusive and, therefore, harder to perform beyond one’s assigned task. A sense of belonging to the organization can be created through in-person meetings/events. It does not necessarily require daily or weekly in-person interactions.

That said, forcing people to return to the office can impede workflow and professional success, too, as people who find greater connectivity with an affinity group than their own organization might feel resentment. Finding the right balance is extremely important in this scenario.”

Daisy Chang, Michigan State University College of Social Science:

“The social facilitation process can be triggered by the mere presence of others. So, in that way, having others around can facilitate individuals to work harder and accomplish professional success. Being able to potentially share the positive achievement with others at the coworking space — however small — can also boost one’s sense of efficacy and confidence. These small social interactions can be energizing and help individuals better regulate their attention after their conversations with their fellow coworkers.”

Do you think that coworking supports a healthy work/life balance? If so, how?

Jessica Nicklin, The University of Hartford:

“Yes, I do believe that with the sole mention that coworking also takes up time, as compared to simply working from home. So, it is important to be aware and in control of how much time should be in the coworking spaces versus at home to properly balance personal life and work.”

Sharon Glazer, The University of Baltimore:

“As with all things human, it depends. There is no one best way for any organization to promote or encourage coworking. Having studied the meaning of work/life balance and having asked about 100 workers what it means to them, I can safely say it is quite unique and personal. For some, having ultimate flexibility in when and where they work results in work/life balance. For others, starting the workday at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. is what facilitates work/life balance. In some cases, being able to work in-person with colleagues might create a sense of belonging whereas, for others, it is a distraction, making it harder to get work done. It all depends on each individual and their unique preferences.”

Daisy Chang, Michigan State University College of Social Science:

“I think, for some people, coworking space can be a very important facilitator for achieving work/life balance. In general, people have different preferences when it comes to managing boundaries between the work versus personal (for example, family) domains.

Some may prefer the integration strategy, which means that they try to cover all the domains all the time. So, they may be working from home, having a Zoom meeting with colleagues, while also overseeing their kids’ homework and having a load of laundry going, all at the same time. And, they find that being able to manage tasks from both domains at the same time is satisfactory.

Others may have a different preference for the segmentation strategy, which means that they try to keep work tasks at work and establish a stronger and less permeable boundary between work and family/non-work domains. So, these people may prefer to not worry about work calls/emails when they are ‘off the clock,’ but also not be bothered by personal demands when they are at work.

For the people who prefer a segmentation strategy, having a coworking space gives them an opportunity to firm up that boundary between work and personal life, which is critical for them to achieve balance. Even for integrators, knowing that there is an option for them to go somewhere so that they can focus on their work tasks if they need to can be comforting.”


By promoting flexibility and a personalized work environment — as opposed to the traditional, “one-size-fits-all” approach of typical office spaces — coworking helps support the mental health and well-being of its members. To that end, by using a coworking space, workers can choose how, where, and for how long they work, while also considering their personal lives and needs. At the same time, flex workspaces help them reap the benefits of both a focused and professional work environment, as well as a social scene based on a supportive group of like-minded people.


Laura Pop-Badiu is a Senior Creative Writer at CoworkingCafe and CoworkingMag, with a degree in Journalism and a background in both hospitality and real estate. Laura is a certified bookworm with a genuine passion for the written word and a keen interest in the coworking sector. Her work has been featured in major publications like Forbes, NBC News, The Business Journals, Chicago Tribune, MSN and Yahoo! Finance, among others.

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